An Australian Grub?
February 5, 2010
Hello Bugman, it’s funny, just as you identified my Palm Planthopper, I came across another mystery on my walk. It’s about half an inch in length, and looks a bit like a cross between a pillbug anf a colourful grub.
PS. I contacted Dr Fletcher from Orange Agricultural Institute about the Planthopper, and as a consequence he added my photo of it to their website:
“Lovely pictures of Magia subocellata (Family Lophopidae). This species (and one other species of Magia) is native to North Queensland. It was found a couple of years ago in the tropical palm collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney and may well have spread to your area from there.”
Hi again Ridou Ridou,
We didn’t do quite as well with this submission. We are nearly certain this is a Caterpillar in the family Limacodidae, which in the U.S. are known as Slug Caterpillars. Many of them have stinging spines. The Brisbane Insect website, which has a few species posted, though none resemble your example, indicates they are called Cup Moths because of the shape of their cocoons, and the caterpillars that sting are known as Spitfires, our new favorite insect name. Your individual is most probably not one of the stinging species.
Eric Eaton Disagrees
I’m thinking the “cup moth caterpillar” from Australia is actually some kind of giant scale insect, but I have no idea which one. I could also be totally wrong, but I think it is worth checking into.
WE will research this tomorrow.